Why are my Windows Phone 7 Item Templates Missing?

January 27, 2011

I recently got a new laptop and spent a significant amount of time installing all of the software I use. At the end of the process I discovered all of my Windows Phone 7 item templates were missing from Visual Studio 2010. The files were present in the proper location on my disk, but did not appear when choosing “Add New Item” in Visual Studio. This is not a particularly major problem for me since I only tinker with Windows Phone development occasionally in the evening and on weekends. In any case, it was an annoying problem and I wanted it fixed. I had the same problem once before with my previous laptop. My memory is admittedly a bit hazy regarding the previous episode, but I seem to recall correcting it by uninstalling anything remotely related to Visual Studio, Silverlight, or Windows Phone development and re-installing all of them from scratch. That did not fix the problem on my new laptop, so I decided to apply a more brute force scientific method to the problem.

I still had my old laptop, so I did a clean install of Windows 7 64-bit Enterprise followed immediately by Visual Studio and the Windows Phone developer tools. I then proceeded to install all of my other software checking for the presence of WP7 item templates after each installation. This took a while, but I will jump to the end of the story and say that, in my case, the problem was with my Devart dotConnect for Oracle installation. There is an option near the end of it’s setup program to “Install menu item and toolbox components into Visual Studio”.


I checked this box and that was what ultimately led to the disappearance of my WP7 item templates. I uninstalled the Devart product and my item templates reappeared. I then reinstalled the product but did not select the previously mentioned checkbox. The installation completed successfully and I still had my templates.

I uninstalled and re-installed several more times to be sure I had isolated the problem. To be fair to Devart and Microsoft, I don’t know where the bug resides. I might have the same problem in the future after installing some other product that attempts to modify the Visual Studio toolbox. I can only report how I resolved this issue on my machine with the specific software I had installed. I thought it was worth reporting here since I found almost no reports of this problem in my extensive searching. Maybe this will save someone else a few minutes (or hours) of frustration later.

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About Brice Wilson
Software Developer and Trainer